AYV News May 19, 2023
The Human Rights Commission for Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) brought together 250 young people from Carwashes, Ghettoes, Cliques, Hook Up Girls, Ataya Base and Bike Riders in the east of Freetown to discuss human rights and non-violence in elections.
The objectives of the engagement were to understand the issues igniting the participation of young people in elections violence and establish Human Rights Peace Ambassadors for elections.
East District Chairman of the Sierra Leone Bike Riders Union, Mohamed S. Turay thanked the Commission for the engagement.
“The peace of this country is in the hands of bike riders. We have had a lot of criticism over the years but I want to say we are the most peaceful in society. Bike riders suffer the most when there is no peace in a country and our responsibility is to serve as ambassadors of peace,” he said.
He assured the Commission that no single bike rider will involve in election violence during and after the June 24th multitier elections and also maintain the peace and security of the country.
Chairlady of Hook up Girls at Waterloo, Fatmata Jalloh said they undergo tremendous challenges in the hands of customers, adding that some of them are into the trade as a result of circumstances beyond their control.
“It is not our wish to be doing hookups, if we have an alternative means of livelihood, we will stop. With peace in this country, everything will go on well even for our trade. This is why we are joining Human Rights Commission to say no to violence during and after the elections,” she said.
Chairperson, Human Rights Commission for Sierra Leone, Patricia Narsu Ndanema said the Commission has a broad mandate to protect and promote the human rights of all in Sierra Leone and noted that protection deals with the law, whilst promotion has to do with awareness raising.
“The Commission believes and trusts in the youths present here. You can only enjoy your human rights when you have freedom and, in this election, we don’t want any violence. We decided to bring you together to talk to you on non-violence because we don’t want the action of one person to affect the majority,” she said.
Madam Ndanema noted that the elections on June 24th should not be a do-or-die affair to warrant youths to do things that will bring violence to the country.
Participants pledge their commitment towards violent free elections and also educate their colleagues in youth hangouts to say no to violence during and after the polls.
A similar engagement will be hosted today Friday at the Peace Museum, New England Ville for another 250 young people in the central and west of the city.